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Determined : Life Without Free Will - Robert M Sapolsky


Life Without Free Will

By: Robert M Sapolsky

Paperback | 17 October 2023

At a Glance


RRP $36.99



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The legendary author of Behave shows that free will can not exist and explores the radical and disturbing implications

In a masterful synthesis of science and philosophy, one of the world's pre-eminent behavioural scientists demonstrates that free will is a powerful and dangerous illusion. The result is a new way to think about choice, identity, responsibility, justice, morality and how we live together.

Without free will, it makes no more sense to punish people for antisocial behaviour than it does to scold a car for breaking down. It is no one's fault they are poor or overweight or unsuccessful, nor do people deserve praise for their talent or hard work; 'grit' is a myth. This mechanistic view of human behaviour challenges our most powerful instincts, but history suggests that we have already made great strides toward it- where once we saw demonic possession or cowardice, for example, now we diagnose illness or trauma and offer help.

Disturbing and liberating in equal measure, Determined explores the far-reaching implications for society of accepting this reality. Monumentally difficult as it may be, the reward will be a far more just and humane world.

About the Author

Robert M. Sapolsky holds degrees from Harvard and Rockefeller Universities and is currently a Professor of Biology and Neurology at Stanford University and a Research Associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya. He is the author of The Trouble with Testosterone, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers (both finalists for the LA Times Book Award), and A Primate's Memoir. Sapolsky has contributed to Natural History, Discover, Men's Health, and Scientific American, and is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.
Industry Reviews
'Awe-inspiring . . . this is the best scientific book written for non-specialists that I have ever read. You will learn more about human nature than in any other book I can think of, and you will be inspired -- Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm

It's no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I've ever read * Wall Street Journal *

Behave is the best detective story ever written, and the most important. If you've ever wondered why someone did something - good or bad, vicious or generous - you need to read this book. If you think you already know why people behave as they do, you need to read this book. In other words, everybody needs to read it. It should be available on prescription (side effects: chronic laughter; highly addictive). They should put Behave in hotel rooms instead of the Bible: the world would be a much better, wiser place -- Kate Fox, author of Watching the English

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